The award, presented last night in Melbourne to ATA chief executive Donna Luckman and international projects volunteers Michael O’Connell and Alan Hutchinson (pictured with Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio), is acknowledgement for the ATA’s Village Lighting Scheme, which has been operating for more than a decade.
Since 2003 the not-for-profit ATA has installed solar-powered lighting in more than 1500 homes, schools, community centres and hospitals without access to electricity in East Timor, as well as training and developing training programs for local solar technicians.
Ms Luckman said the award was great recognition for the work of dozens of people in Australia and East Timor, many of them volunteers committed to improving lives with clean energy.
“We’re delighted and we thank the UNAA for this award. The ATA has a long-term commitment to renewable energy in East Timor that has grown and expanded over the years,” Ms Luckman said.
“Not only does solar benefit the environment, it literally changes people’s lives to have light at night with clean energy instead of relying on polluting kerosene lamps or candles. Women and children also feel safer with reliable light for security,” she said.
“Our vision is for renewable energy across developing countries like East Timor as well as in Australia.”
Kate Greenwood, the ATA’s international projects manager, paid tribute to the volunteers who have been a crucial part of the Village Lighting Scheme:
“The international projects group started with a handful of people in Melbourne who saw a need. It has blossomed into a wonderful network of individuals who have made trips to East Timor, installed solar, trained people, developed specific solar units, and just generally donated an enormous amount of their time and energy.
“This award speaks volumes for their passion, commitment and work.”
In the next round of installations from July to November this year, the ATA will oversee 500 solar-powered lighting units in the Timorese districts of Aileu, Baucau and Viqueque as part of the Google Impact Grant.